The relative flexibility of B-DNA and A-RNA duplexes: database analysis

TitleThe relative flexibility of B-DNA and A-RNA duplexes: database analysis
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2004
AuthorsPerez, A, Noy A, Lankas F, Luque FJ, Orozco M
JournalNucleic acids research
Pagination6144 - 6151
Date Published2004/11/23/
KeywordsCrystallography, Double-Stranded/chemistry, Genetic; Motion; Nucleic Acid Conformation; RNA, X-Ray; DNA/chemistry; Databases
AbstractAn extensive analysis of structural databases is carried out to investigate the relative flexibility of B-DNA and A-RNA duplexes in crystal form. Our results show that the general anisotropic concept of flexibility is not very useful to compare the deformability of B-DNA and A-RNA duplexes, since the flexibility patterns of B-DNA and A-RNA are quite different. In other words, 'flexibility' is a dangerous word for describing macromolecules, unless it is clearly defined. A few soft essential movements explain most of the natural flexibility of A-RNA, whereas many are necessary for B-DNA. Essential movements occurring in naked B-DNAs are identical to those necessary to deform DNA in DNA-protein complexes, which suggest that evolution has designed DNA-protein complexes so that B-DNA is deformed according to its natural tendency. DNA is generally more flexible, but for some distortions A-RNA is easier to deform. Local stiffness constants obtained for naked B-DNAs and DNA complexes are very close, demonstrating that global distortions in DNA necessary for binding to proteins are the result of the addition of small concerted deformations at the base-pair level. Finally, it is worth noting that in general the picture of the relative deformability of A-RNA and DNA derived from database analysis agrees very well with that derived from state of the art molecular dynamics (MD) simulations.